Flunk Day

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Knox College in Galesburg, IL holds a day of flunking every year. It flunking rocks.

See Flunk Day 2024 for info specific to this year!

Flunk Day is tomorrow.

Flunk Day is an annual event at Knox College where, by surprise, all classes are canceled. A day's worth of carnival-like activities are planned.

The first Flunk Day of record was May 11, 1922, but the tradition of a student-initiated spring festival dates back to the early years of the 20th century and "Roughneck Day" -- which was the conclusion to "Roughneck Week," when the men didn't shave and both men and women students wore ragged clothing.



There is always speculation about the date of Flunk Day. Some people say the date moves depending on the weather or whether students already know it's Flunk Day. The logic behind this notion goes that if too many people know it's Flunk Day before the date, they will get drunk the night before and be more likely to get alcohol poisoning during the day.

This notion may just be an effect of the scare-letdown dynamic that the speculation creates for students. Some say that the date for Flunk Day is fixed from the beginning.


A subcommittee of Union Board plans Flunk Day, and only the select members on the committee know the date. In 2007-2008, the two coordinators of Union board were Meryl Leventon and Alex Clark and Pam Schuller was the secret planner. In 2008-2009, the known planners were Alex Clark, Whitney Mackie, Ginny Graves, and Pam Schuller. In 2009-2010, the known planners were Ginny Graves, Britt Anderson (co-coordinators), Jenni Nefzger, and Martha Baumgarten. Please ask them when Flunk Day will be held. In 2017, the Flunk Day Planner was Vlad Papancea. He made sure that it was a nice, sunny, flunky flunk day.

Select members of the College Staff, mostly in the Office of Student Development, know the date.

Flunk Day Does Not Exist[edit]

Let us start with our assumption: Flunk Day is a surprise. We can see that this assumption is indeed reasonable as we do not know when Flunk Day is to occur. Now let us just suppose that Flunk Day were to happen this week. Then suppose that we got to Thursday without Flunk Day happening. Knowing Flunk Day happens this week and that the current day is Thursday, we could conclude that Friday must be Flunk Day. But such a conclusion contradicts the assumption that Flunk Day is a surprise (seeing as we would know when Flunk Day would be). So we now know that Flunk Day cannot happen on Friday.

Now suppose we made it to Wednesday and Flunk Day has not yet happened. Building off of what we just proved, Flunk Day could not be any day other than Thursday. But alas! This too violates our assumption that Flunk Day is a surprise, eliminating Thursday as a possible Flunk Day.

Now suppose the current day to be Tuesday and Flunk Day has still not happened. Since we know that Flunk Day is neither Friday nor Thursday, we would then be forced to conclude Flunk Day is on Wednesday, which is a violation of the assumption. If we made it to Monday and it were not yet Flunk Day, it must be on Tuesday! But alas, this too leads to a contradiction and thus we know Flunk Day cannot be on Tuesday. If it isn’t Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, or Tuesday, it must be on Monday! But this too is a contradiction, and thus we are forced to conclude Flunk Day is not this week!

Please note that the logic given can be applied to the entire year if Flunk Day was not this week (ie If we make it to the second to last day of this term with no Flunk Day, then we would know Flunk Day is on the last day, but that would violate our assumption and thus we would know it cannot be on the last day. Suppose we get to the third to last day… etc.) Now, we can logically conclude one of two things:

1. Flunk Day is not a surprise 2. Flunk Day can never happen

Dean Romano strongly insists that Flunk Day will be a surprise each year. Thus, logically, the second statement is the truth.

Also See Students For Flunk Day Truth

The problem with the logic.

Assume we know that El Dia de Flunk is to occur on a weekday of a given term. Assume also the nature of the day is 'surprising,' but not unknowable.

Situation 1). If we get to the 29th of May and the last chance for Flunk day to occur is the 30th, then Flunk day is no longer a surprise but still exists, as its date is knowable.

Situation 2). If it is the 28th of May, then the presuppositions have changed, and the result is that Flunk day may or may not occur on the 29th or the 30th (50/50 chances). However, if Flunk day does not occur on the 29th, then we must resort to Situation 1. If Flunk day does occur on the 29th, it is still Flunk day, because there is a chance that Flunk day could occur on a knowable day, but that its suprising nature would be lessened.

Situation 3). If it is the 27th, Flunk day may occur on the 28th, 29th, or the 30th (in which case there is a 33.3% chance that it will occur on any one of those days). If Flunk day does not occur on the 28th or 29th, then we must resort to Situation 1. If Flunk day does not occur on the 28th, then we must resort to Situation 2. If Flunk day occurs on the 27th, the surprise still exists because there was a chance that Flunk day could have occurred on the 28th, or could have occurred on that knowable day.


There are other situations in which the date of Flunk day becomes more or less knowable:

1) Flunk day clues on Wikifire increase the knowability of Flunk day, and decrease the suprisability

2) Flunk day hype decreases the knowability and increases the suprisability.

3) Flunk day lies/rumors on Wikifire decrease the knowability and increase the suprisability.

4) Flunk day inside-tips increase the knowability and increase the suprisability.

5) Drinking decreases the knowability and increases the suprisability.

6) Pulling all-nighters decreases the knowability (and the functionality) and increases the suprisability.

7) Spying increases the knowability and has no effect on the suprisability.

8) Blasting "Like a G-6" has no effect on anything.

9) Procrastination has no effect on anything.

You can change your Flunk day experience, and thus the nature of Flunk day by using these situations to change the knowability and suprisability of Flunk day.

FLUNK DAY EXISTS, albeit in many forms.

Scares & Speculation[edit]

The Safety Email[edit]

At some point during every spring term, someone in the administration sends out an email with a list of safety precautions regarding the coming Flunk Day.

In 2006, the email was sent out the day before Flunk Day (some say to preempt scares) leading to rumors in 2007 that Flunk Day would happen before the safety email was sent out.

Flunk Day Scares[edit]

Most years there are one or more Flunk Day scares. Some scares are intentionally instigated and perpetuated by a student, or more commonly, a group of students. Some scares occur spontaneously, when a given date is widely rumored to be Flunk Day. Scares may be corroborated by a variety of evidence.

The earliest known flunk day scare occurred during the Flunk Day 2010 season. On September 29, 2009, three weeks into fall term student Allison Buccalo spotted tractor trailers parked outside her off-campus house. Following the sighting multiple students were found digging out the mud pit before being instructed by Campus Safety to "go to bed".


This piece of evidence has been cited both ways. The grass being mowed the day before a candidate date has been cited as evidence as well as the grass not being mowed. Xavier Romano says they mow the grass every day, which would take care of at least half of this criterion. Lawn-mowing is also epidemiologically linked to contracting tularemia, a potentially fatal zoonotic disease caused by aerosolization of rodent remains infected with the bacterium francisella tularensis.

The Mailroom[edit]

The night before Flunk Day 2006, Union Board stuffed student mailboxes early enough that students were able to discover the items before the mailroom closed. Some say precautions will be taken in the future, but lights on a closed mailroom have been cited as evidence on at least one occasion.


In past years, evidence of friars being picked up (a van driving around campus, sudden absence of seniors) has been cited. However, for 2007, friars will be alerted the morning of Flunk Day, eliminating this criterion. In 2009, senior students were invited to be part of what was a massive Flunk Day scare but turned out to be FLUNK DAY ITSELF!! It was so clever. Two freshmen girls almost managed to pass as seniors and be Friars too, what with all of the confusion, but they were caught in time and the tradition remained sacred.

As of 2022 false scares are not allowed as well as the banging of pots and pans. Friars were given whistles (which ran out) and were encouraged to use their voices to wake the campus (and the surrounding community) up.

Flunk Day TKS[edit]

The staff of TKS do not know when Flunk Day will be. They try to get the Flunk Day issue of the newspaper finished early in the term so that they will be ready to distribute it when El Dia del Flunk occurs, but the completion of the paper does not indicate Flunk Day's arrival. In past years, the Flunk Day issue of TKS has not been ready on the actual date, and has had to be distributed later.

Wallace Lounge[edit]

This is the secret, secret litmus test of Flunk Day. It is such a strong indicator that I don't want to reveal it in its entirety. But once it happens, Flunk Day is tomorrow, without a doubt.

Confirming Flunk Day[edit]

The Hotline[edit]

If you don't have access to your email, you can also dial the flunk day hotline at 309-341-7008 to find out if it's Flunk day. This is not the most reliable source, however, as in both 2006 and 2007 the hotline had not changed its message by the time the campus was woken up.

Currently if you call the hotline, the automated response still says, "Today, May 4th is Flunk Day"

As of 2021, the hotline has been updated and is operational.

As of May 4, 2023 the automated response will say, "Hello everybody this is Dean McClean from the Campus Life Office letting you know that today is NOT Flunk Day. Try again tomorrow!"

Campus Safety[edit]

If you have only ever used the extension *7979 to get someone, anyone, to please unlock the door to your room, you are missing out. Though they will be reluctant, they will always answer truthfully to the question "Is it Flunk Day today?" However, they are trickier than you think. If it is not Flunk Day, they will tell you. If it is Flunk Day, they will tell you to wait for the e-mail. A good way to make the question legitimate is to say you live in the quads and that loud drunk seniors have woken you up. An excellent resource at 5 in the morning when you feel like getting muddy and Knox Wireless takes forever to load your email.

The Flunk Day Email[edit]

On the actual morning of Flunk Day a staff member, still to be determined for 2009-2010, sends out an all-campus email letting everyone know that it is, in fact, the real Flunk Day. This is really the only reliable means of determining whether it is Flunk Day, or just a Flunk Day scare.

In 2007 the email was down at 5:30am. Fearing that students would not believe it was really flunk day without the official email, Xavier Romano sent a text message to Ellen Vessels confirming that it was indeed flunk day.

In 2013 Deb (bless her heart) was running late and thus so did the email. More stubborn members of the campus almost missed out on the earlier mornings. Thank goodness for more stubborn friends, eh?

In 2022 the Flunk Day email from Deb Southern was sent at 7 am, one hour later than what it was before.

Flunk Day Activities[edit]

Main article: Flunk Day activities

There are many traditional Flunk Day activities.

The day starts with the entire campus being waken by the Friars, a group of seniors selected to start Flunk Day. The first activity most students engage in is drinking, this usually continues through the day for many. In the morning, students enjoy a mud pit and foam pit to the sounds of a DJ. During the afternoon (usually after a nap) the lawn south of Seymour Hall has inflatable carnival games and karaoke. In past years, some students have also enjoy a bike ride to Lake Storey, though this activity was missing from the Flunk Day 2007 schedule.

All meals are served outdoors on Flunk Day. Though one year breakfast was held inside and there was a squad that stole a giant tub of cookie dough ice cream.

((Bon Appetite is doing weird schtuff and rumors of the Gizmo being open are circulating. Sounds like a terrible plan, imho))

Flunk Day Issue of The Knox Student[edit]

Main article: Flunk Day Issue 2007

Each year TKS comes out with a spoof issue of the newspaper. In 2005 and 2006, the spoof issue of the paper had not been produced yet so it was not in mailboxes the morning of as usual. In 2007, the paper was produced and printed well before May 8 and was drunkenly collected by many students. Controversy arose, however, due to the nature of the front page headline which read "Jesus Fucking Christ to speak at 2008 commencement." President Taylor, Xavier Romano, and Larry Breitborde called a meeting of the TKS editorial staff to discuss the issue. At the meeting Roger delivered a speech in which he expressed his thoughts. On the following day, he issued an email to the campus.



Flunk Day is the source of much controversy because many students get very drunk. Every year, somebody (or somebodies) gets hurt and goes to the hospital. Every year, people say that Flunk Day might get canceled. The rumor spreads easily because the injuries and alcohol use are a liability for the college.

However, Knox President Roger Taylor stated in an article in The Knox Student that only about 100 people drink excessively on Flunk Day.

He is almost definitely wrong. Or his understanding of what constitutes 'excessive' drinking goes well beyond even students' standards of inebriation.

Students For Flunk Day Truth Committee[edit]

In the weeks of long anticipation leading to Flunk Day 2007 an underground committee of an undisclosed number of dedicated Knox students founded the Students For Flunk Day Truth Committee. A response to the campus-wide mass hallucination known as "Flunk Day," two harrowingly truthful documents, posted in two waves, were printed by the hundreds and posted about campus to educate the campus at large. However, as the truth came to light in the morning hours following the 3 a.m. postings of aforementioned articles, posters began to vanish in what was likely an administrative decision to silence the truth.

The Fake Email[edit]

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 a fake Flunk Day email was sent to students orchestrated by 5th year CS major Dan Briggs. People were ready to party when 30 minutes later Marquita Barker sent out a retraction email.

Flunk days past and present[edit]

  • Do note these Flunk Days were way later than most Flunk Days due to the Covid-19 pandemic and should be recognized as outliers when predicting Flunk Day.